How was Philadelphia Greened in 2009?

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Look no further than our Philadelphia International Flower Show Blog. Proceeds of this annual event go to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and its acclaimed urban revitalization program, Philadelphia Green.

Looking toward the New Year, we can’t help but reminisce about the work that was accomplished across the region in 2009.

Take a peek:

• Philadelphia Green leaders shared their experience in neighborhood revitalization with cities across the country, including Buffalo, Cleveland, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Richmond and Shreveport. In a new partnership with Keep America Beautiful, PG provided greening resources to KAB’s 1,000 affiliates and participating organizations. To date, Philadelphia Green has stabilized more than 7 million square feet of former derelict vacant land.

• PHS received a $1.65 million grant through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (Pennvest) for the planting of more than 8,000 trees in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. The funding came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is part of a portfolio of green infrastructure projects encouraged by both federal and state government.

• With a $300,000 grant from the USDA, PG launched an entrepreneurial food growing program to feed the city’s hungry as part of its City Harvest program. Over the last five years, City Harvest has donated more than 54,700 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to local food cupboards, feeding an estimated 900 families per week throughout the growing season. The program will help increase capacity and farmers markets throughout the city.

• PHS led the charge to plant more than 1,000 bare root trees with 30 Tree Tender groups across Philadelphia and hundreds more were planted in the surrounding counties, as part of TreeVitalize, a public-private partnership launched by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and led by PHS in Southeast Pennsylvania. Thousands of trees were also planted along streams and other sensitive water protection areas in dozens of TreeVitalize Watersheds restoration projects throughout the region.

• PHS released the PHS City Parks Handbook as part of its new greening tool kit. Based on the work of Philadelphia Green, the handbook and an accompanying DVD aim to empower groups to transform local parks into vibrant community assets. PHS also created two new blogs and Twitter pages, as well as a YouTube channel full of videos on how to plant and prune a tree, grow garlic and more.

• PG bestowed its Community Greening Award to 68 greening champions from across the state. Drawing more than 80 entries from as far west as Erie, Pa., and with entries also coming from New Jersey and Delaware, the award recognized those who made a difference in their communities by planting and maintaining quality public spaces. This year, several entries included innovative storm water management techniques, such as rain gardens.

• Philadelphia Green partnered with the Philadelphia Water Department to improve storm water management at sites in Philadelphia, including restoring a rain garden at Liberty Lands Park. The 2-acre site was enhanced with an ADA-accessible performance stage, contoured lawn to accommodate audiences, an inlet to capture storm water runoff, where it will travel under the sidewalk before being released along a grass swale into a rain garden. Water captured by the rain garden will feed underground cisterns what will be used for park irrigation.

• PG was hired by the Avenue of the Arts, Inc. to develop a new planter program after several planters were damaged after the 2008 World Series win. PG will manage the maintenance of 80 planters on South Broad Street from City Hall to Lombard Street.

• PG led more than 500 people in educational tours of PECO’s green roof at its Philadelphia headquarters at 23rd and Market streets. At 45,000 square feet, the green roof is the largest green roof constructed on an existing urban building in Pennsylvania.

• Philadelphia Green trained dozens of teachers as part of its Green City Teachers program, which provides educators the skills to incorporate horticulture and environmental education into their curriculums. PG also launched a patch program for the Girls Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, engaged more than 50 schools at the annual Kids Grow Expo, and worked with the Pennsylvania Downtown Center to offer internships to 23 college students. PHS also expanded its Young Friends group.

For more about PHS’s Philadelphia Green program, please visit PHSonline.org.

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